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Showing posts from January, 2018

Peter on Grief and Communities

Well, that was unexpected.

For the last year, ever since my mom's health took a sharp downturn, I've been my dad's ride to Florence Congregational Church on Sundays. That community has been important for my dad and the weekly outing with me was something he always looked forward to and enjoyed, so I didn't mind taking him there. It meant giving up attending my own Quaker meeting for the duration, but I had already been questioning whether silent waiting worship was working for me. I was ready for a sabbatical.
A month ago, my dad was Section-Twelved into a geriatric psych hospital when his dementia started to make him emotionally volatile. I had been visiting him every day at his assisted living facility which was right on my way home from work, but the hospital was almost an hour away. I didn't see him at all for three weeks, and when I did visit him there, it actually took me a couple of seconds to recognize him. He was slumped forward in a wheel chair, looking v…

A Quaker Pagan Day Book: Testimonies and Queries

Pagans often argue about how to define who we are.  What are the boundaries--between Wicca and Witchcraft, between Heathens and Pagans, between polytheists, pantheists, and non-theists...  While I could do without the acrimony, we're a new as well as an old religious movement, so it makes sense that like any adolescent, we are fascinated by questions of identity.

I will admit to preferring the Quaker approach to identity, though: rather than trying to create the definitive checklist of belief that make someone a "real Quaker," Friends typically share a body of testimonies and questions for reflection with those who are drawn to the Religious Society of Friends. "Do you feel this same sort of spiritual leading?" Friends ask one another.  "Does this speak to the condition of your soul, as it does to ours?"

Queries, not checklists of doctrine, hold the ways Quakers approach discernment, including around membership.  And though no individual can declare t…